Friend2Friend Youth Mental Health project is a youth-led, peer-to-peer mental health initiative designed to equip young people with the skills and resources to tackle mental health issues in their local communities.
Friend2Friend supports young people to run workshops on how to be a good ‘mental health buddy’: how to provide sustainable support to a friend who is experiencing mental health concerns and how to raise awareness of youth mental health issues.
The project aims to:
- improve attitudes of young people towards mental health;
- resource young people with the tools to responsibly support their peers with mental health concerns
- to resource young people with the skills and knowledge to raise awareness of youth mental health issues.
Youth Action piloted a series of Friend2Friend workshops across the Greater Western Sydney region with positive outcomes reported by participants.
- 91% agree/strongly agree: “the workshop has changed how I think about mental health”
- 95% agree/strongly agree: “I feel more confident in supporting my friends with mental health concerns”
- 97% agree/strongly agree: “I know where I can go for mental health support”
- 100% agree/strongly agree: “I feel more confident in talking about mental health”
At Youth Action’s What’s Up West? 2013 youth conference, Western Sydney’s young people identified youth mental health as an issue of particular concern for them. Members of Outburst! Western Sydney Youth Action Group also identified that one of their biggest problems was that many of their friends were experiencing poor mental health but they felt they lacked the skills to help them. While they acknowledged the importance of seeking professional help, they felt there was a role they could play in supporting their friend as well.
Friend2Friend addresses this problem by providing workshops for young people to develop an understanding of youth mental health issues; learn different strategies to help a friend experiencing poor mental health; and gain an awareness of the importance of self-care when supporting others with mental health concerns. The project also provides opportunities for young people who would like to raise awareness of the issue by running a Friend2Friend workshop of their own.
Youth Action is now supporting Mental Health Carers NSW to deliver Friend2Friend with young people across NSW. For more information, contact Mental Health Carers at http://www.arafmi.org/